Sunday, March 4, 2012

You Can Grow That!

A fellow garden blogger, C.L. Fornari, started a grassroots campaign to get more people to plant and garden (her blog is  I don't think anyone would deny the benefits of spending time in a beautiful garden.  It's even more enjoyable when you find a beautiful landscape right outside your door.

I think the biggest deterrent most have with gardening is not knowing where and how to start.  You may have just bought a new house with no garden or one that has a much neglected landscape.  Making a pleasing garden may seem very daunting.   And if you're like me, you want everything finished as soon as possible.  So my best advice is to SLOW DOWN.  There's no rush.  I learned  this the hard way.  When you take your time, you are able to better understand what you want from your outdoor spaces, what areas need to have screening, what areas are sunny all day and which have mostly shade.  Seek out help.  There are tons of books, websites, and blogs that provide wonderful advice and inspiration.  And fellow gardeners and local nurseries love to share pointers.  I've gotten some of my favorite plant combinations from books written by skilled designers and bought some amazing plants recommended by local nurseries.  If budget allows, ask a local landscape designer to help you draw up a plan.  It's okay to take your time to learn, dream and plan.

As I've written before, my Hamptons garden started out as a sandy mess.  I started with the lawn.  It wasn't much, but I enjoyed sitting on my front porch staring out at the green patch that drifted from the house to the wild woods.  I slowly added small trees and shrubs around the foundation.  For the first three years, almost all of my efforts were close to the house.  The added benefit of concentrating my efforts around the periphery was that I could enjoy my early accomplishments from inside.

Here's a picture of my first season.  I planted the grass seed myself and set sprinklers on timers.  Wasn't much, but I was happy to get rid of the sandpit that was left after construction.

First season, just happy to have some green grass

This more current picture shows how a few additions each year will finally add up.  Believe me, with limited budgets and time, my garden took many years to look like this.

Yearly additions add up

So think of what you would most enjoy adding to your garden this year.  A new lawn?  A blooming tree outside your door?  A few flowers for cutting?  Maybe just a container of colorful annuals on your patio? You can grow that!


Gordon said...

Thanks for the inspiration! It's good to be reminded that a garden takes time and isn't something that has to come together overnight. After reading your post, I feel less guilty about not having done more than weeding and tree pruning to my mud pit of a backyard since I moved in last May. I hope it looks as nice as yours someday.

Anonymous said...

I love that Dogwood! Looks like Kuosa, is that right? I agree, it's better to take small steps and manage what you can than to get WAY too eager and not be able to finish what you start.

Jeff, Gardener in Chief said...


You're welcome. I'm glad I can share a little inspiration. That was a big goal of relaunching my blog last year. I'm a self-taught gardener so hope that what I do in my garden can also be recreated easily by others. I do admit to getting help with some of the heavy lifting and planting, but never want to rely solely on outside help. Getting my hands dirty is half the fun.

Yes, that's a Kousa. Was small when I first planted it. It really hasn't had that much pruning and still fits near the house.

Thanks for reading!

RamblingWoods said...

I am a novice, but have started on a wildlife garden and especially a milkweed garden for monarchs.. I too wish it was all done at once..Your yard is lovely..Michelle